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[kaw-fer, kof-er] /ˈkɔ fər, ˈkɒf ər/
a box or chest, especially one for valuables.
coffers, a treasury; funds:
The coffers of the organization were rapidly filled by the contributions.
any of various boxlike enclosures, as a cofferdam.
Also called caisson, lacunar. Architecture. one of a number of sunken panels, usually square or octagonal, in a vault, ceiling, or soffit.
verb (used with object)
to deposit or lay up in or as in a coffer or chest.
to ornament with coffers or sunken panels.
Origin of coffer
1250-1300; Middle English cofre < Old FrenchLatin cophinus basket; see coffin
Related forms
cofferlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for coffer
Historical Examples
  • A fourth time he advanced, trembling, and seized the lid of the coffer.

    Salvage in Space John Stewart Williamson
  • How had her body come to be in the coffer, he wondered, when all the others were—gone?

    Salvage in Space John Stewart Williamson
  • How shall I be able to get all this great herd into so small a coffer?

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • So that man packed away all his cattle for him in the coffer.

    Russian Fairy Tales W. R. S. Ralston
  • Thus a coffer dam was formed to receive the concrete as shown in Fig. 34.

    Concrete Construction Halbert P. Gillette
  • coffer cut with ledges and catch-holes for a lid, like other sarcophagi.

  • Then he ordered the coffer to be opened, and told her all that had happened.

    Europa's Fairy Book Joseph Jacobs
  • For his own coffer he extracted a fiveweight and slipped it into his boot top.

    History Repeats George Oliver Smith
  • The old man pressed the little book to his lips and concealed it in his coffer.

    The Day of Wrath Maurus Jkai
  • Please you, Mistress, there was nought but that in the coffer.

    The King's Daughters Emily Sarah Holt
British Dictionary definitions for coffer


a chest, esp for storing valuables
(usually pl) a store of money
Also called caisson, lacuna. an ornamental sunken panel in a ceiling, dome, etc
a watertight box or chamber
  1. short for cofferdam
  2. a recessed panel in a concrete, metal, or timber soffit
verb (transitive)
to store, as in a coffer
to decorate (a ceiling, dome, etc) with coffers
Word Origin
C13: from Old French coffre, from Latin cophinus basket, from Greek kophinos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for coffer

mid-13c., from Old French cofre "a chest" (12c., Modern French coffre), from Latin cophinus "basket" (see coffin).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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